Thursday, 16 July 2015

San Francisco Sports

Although my job is to be 'Executive Assistant' to the CEO I also took on recruitment fairly early on and so now could legitimately call myself a part-time recruiter. My sister does this as a profession and was once bought a brand new Mulberry handbag by one of the recruitment companies she worked with. I hadn't expected to be quite so handsomely courted but I did find myself offered tickets to the baseball last week, and so along I went.
AT&T Park
AT&T Park is just around the corner from where we lived when we first moved here and the crowds on match days (which are about 4 days every fortnight) are something every native San Franciscan learns to avoid while still slurping mother's milk. For this match the SF Giants were playing the NY Mets and there is something of a historical rivalry. It was still very friendly though and I found myself in a sunlit stadium just in time for the game.
AT&T Ball Park Sunshine
The seats were very good and I watched, bemused, as all the pre-match preamble went on. There were bagpipes. There was the presentation of two of those ginormous cheques to charities. There was a big cheer for Firefighters. And then a man from a local church came out and sang the National Anthem. Now this was none of your British operatic warbling - it was more like a soulful baptist sort of thing - and the crowd all stood up and duly assumed the position.
National Anthem at the Baseball
Look at all those arms on chests. Amazing. I had always thought it was a Hollywood thing or possibly something WWE promoted to get people to buy Jack Swagger's t-shirt.
But no, they actually do stand there with their hand on their heart. Amazing. Anyway, after that they suddenly started to "play ball" and off we went.
AT&T Ballpark
It was at this point that I began to wish I had brought an American with me. Baseball, it seems, is a lot like teenagers and television. They like to be in front of it, but they're more likely to be looking at their phones or talking to a friend than watching what is going on. I had NO idea at all about what was happening. I thought the sides swapped when three people went out. But I couldn't spot people going out and it seemed like they were changing sides every couple of minutes on a collective whim. In fact it was a lot like the Mad Hatter's Tea Party where they all had to randomly move to a new place at the table when the butter knife got crumbs on.

I stuck it out for half an hour but then politely made my farewells. I was the richer in terms of experience and more importantly, from a handbag point of view, to the sum of one black hoodie with the company that invited me in small letters on the front and "San Francisco" written large on the back. Printed though, not machine embroidered. Machine embroidered freebies are my goal for the next rung up the recruitment ladder that has that Mulberry handbag waiting for me at the top.

Monday, 13 July 2015

My Own Machine Embroidery Machine!

My birthday vouchers plus some of my hard earned spondoolix means I now have a Brother SE400 which has all the bells and whistles of your average sewing machine but ALSO does a load of machine embroidery. The hoop I have is only about 4" square but that's enough for me for now.

A friend has just had a baby so I decided to make her some bibs but I knew your average baby material wasn't going to suffice. A beloved pair of jeans that has gone paper thin around the cheeks from much use had been put away so I could use the denim for some future project. This is the project that caused me to finally cut into them. I carefully read the manual and was finally ready to try some designs out on a scrap piece.
Trying out my embroidery machine
I am really glad I got the Madeira sample pack of stabilisers as the booklet that comes with it explains exactly which is best for each type of fabric and embroidery, including freehand and hand. I went with a cut-away black and repositionable spray glue for the denim. I had lots of fun fooling about and after a while had this.
Machine embroidery test
If you want to see a video of it in action you will find one here.

Having had a good fiddle about I was ready to go on my bibs and not so much time later I had these two!
Finished Denim Bibs
The "Hey baby!" uses one of the built in fonts and then the heart is another standard design and I just varied the size of each. On the back I used some standard quilting cotton.
Back of bibs
The binding is some red and white hearts I used on my Lucy Boston blocks. I also added plastic poppers allowing it to be fastened in two positions. I saw with my niece's bibs that velcro only gets stuck to other stuff in the washing machine.

There are either 4 or 5 fonts and about 80 built in patterns. I used some of the fonts to make this label for my Hand Pieced Mini Quilt, which is finally finished bar washing.
Machine Embroidered Quilt Label
The label fabric is one lovely Rachel from My Life in Knitwear sent me. I didn't spray the glue well enough to get it evenly stuck down on the stabilisor, hence the puckering. Still looks pretty good though! Here it is on the back of the quilt.
Back of Hand Pieced Mini Quilt
You can also see how I did the border of this one - effectively using more hexagons as a kind of 'binding'. I am pretty happy with how this turned out.
Hand Pieced Mini Quilt
The quilting/embroidery uses sashiko thread and the concentric circles are a very japanese design. It has actually ended up about an inch under the minimum size but I hope no one will complain about that! And having finished that one I have signed up for the Simply Mini Swap on Instagram so another mini will be entering my life soon. My Partner has been quite vague about what she likes so the field is open and I like to use these minis to try new techniques. In this one it was the use of colour but I have a feeling I might use paper piecing (not EPP) for the next so I can get lots of straight lines and angles connecting sharply. We will see!

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